Over the years, there has been intentional word mixing by some officials in order to draw independent homeschoolers back into the public schools. Across the board, confusion often reigns as to who or who is not a homeschooler. It usually lies on the homeschool community’s back to educate on the issue, regardless of which educational choice is best for the child and family.
In Wisconsin, the Department of Public Instruction [DPI] ruled that Bridges Virtual Academy needed to provide more accountability as a public school, or the administrator – Merrill Area Public School [MAPS] – would lose state funding.
The potential loss of $5 million is forcing changes in the program, as reported by the Wasau Daily Herald.
Bridges Virtual Academy evolves to ease state concerns By Keith Uhlig
Parents will need to spend more time connecting with Bridges’ licensed teachers and tracking their children’s academic process, said Charlie Evenhouse of Minocqua, the vice president of Bridges’ governance board.
“Basically, we’re trying to find a balance with the state,” Evenhouse said.
Evenhouse said the new changes still will allow parents to make important curriculum decisions, but there will be more time required for the accountability measures and connection with teachers.
“It’s basically not the direction I personally would want it to go,” Evenhouse said. Bridges might lose some families because of the changes, he said.
It’s completely understandable public school usage requires public funding accountability to taxpayers. Homeschool advocates have used that notion as a defense mechanism when homeschool naysayers call for more regulation of homeschoolers, We reiterate home education seems to have a greater success rate than public schools. If it’s not broken, why ‘fix’ it?
The families the board fears might be lost will decide the best option for their children. That’s the bottom line, whether it’s independent homeschooling, or the local ‘brick and mortar’ public or private school. Adding to the coffers shouldn’t be the priority, but instead, quality education should be at the top of educators’ concerns.
The Wisconsin Parents Association [WPA] has been on top of the public virtual academy clash with the homeschool community. Here’s the WPA warning about the Bridges Virtual Academy after the DPI reprimand:
WPA continues to warn parents that it is risky to enroll in BVA both because students may not receive credit for work they have done and BVA undermines homeschooling freedoms.